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Martial Musings: A Portrayal of Martial Arts in the 20th Century

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BY ROBERT W. SMITH
ERIE, PENNSYLVANIA, VIA MEDIA PUBLISHING, 1999
400 PAGES. 300 ILLUSTRATIONS
ISBN 1-893765-008 HARDBACK

A well-written memoir is a surefire way to make Asian history and culture come alive for students who
approach the subject with little or no knowledge. If the memoir can teach and contextualize as well as inspire curiosity about Asia, all the better. In Martial Musings: A Portrayal of Martial Arts in the 20th Century, Robert W. Smith not only offers us the story of one man’s joyous, passionate, and often genuinely daring romp through the modern martial arts, he does so by interweaving his subject with the multiple perspectives of international relations, literature, and American popular culture. Martial Musings thus provides us with a way of seeing these subjects that avoids the “usual suspects” of chronology, great events, and great (mostly male) lives.